Tag Archives: aldous huxley

Omnium Gatherum: July 20th, 2014

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for July 30th, 2014

Afterlife with Archie issue 6
“Afterlife With Archie” Issue 6 is a comic every Lovecraft fan will enjoy — Mike Davis, Lovecraft eZine

 

Here are some top gatherum posts from the BBS this week:

  • The Baphomet Sculpture Hidden in Brooklyn — Jena Cumbo, Village Voice

    “Lucien Greaves (a.k.a. Doug Mesner), one of the people who commissioned the sculpture, that now sits in a warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn, asked the sculptor — we’ll call him “Jack” — to forgo the breasts. This Baphomet is smooth-chested and muscular, with thin, shapely lips and rectangular pupils. The sculptor based his physique on a blend of Michelangelo’s David and Iggy Pop.”

  • ‘Join us in our ritual,’ beckons Cthulhu-based cryptocurrency — Adrianne Jeffries, The Verge

    “Written in the voodoo cultspeak of futurist horror writer H.P. Lovecraft’s short story, ‘The Call of Cthulhu,’ the creepy Cthulhu Offerings may be the most confusing digital currency yet.

    ‘The time draws near, the return of The Great Old One is upon us,’ writes the developer. ‘Join us in our ritual.'”

  • 70,000 Year-Old African Settlement Unearthed — Past Horizons

    “During ongoing excavations in northern Sudan, Polish archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology in Poznań, have discovered the remains of a settlement estimated to 70,000 years old. This find, according to the researchers, seems to contradict the previously held belief that the construction of permanent structures was associated with the so-called Great Exodus from Africa and occupation of the colder regions of Europe and Asia.”

  • The Occult Knowledge – Strategies of Epistemology in La Société Voudon Gnostique — Maria Liberg, a Bachelor thesis in Religious Studies at University of Gothenburg, supervised by Henrik Bogdan

    “The academic research on Western esotericism in general and contemporary occultism in particular has been largely neglected in earlier scholarship and has only recently gained serious academic attention. This thesis examines how the contemporary occult group, La Société Voudon Gnostique, headed by David Beth and an organization under the general current Voudon Gnosis, legitimate their claims to knowledge, mainly through three discursive strategies of epistemology offered by Olav Hammer, namely: the appeal to (1) tradition; (2) scientism as a language of faith; and narratives of (3) experience. Since Hammer argues that these strategies can be found in esoteric currents in general, but only examines theosophy, anthroposophy and New Age as well as only examining “esoteric spokespersons” this thesis aims at examine them in relation to contemporary occultism as well as in relation to both the spokesperson and to “ordinary adherents”. In order do this, La Société Voudon Gnostique works as a case study in qualification of being a contemporary occult group that has gained no academic attention before.

    The conclusions of this thesis are that the strategies are all prevalent, to a more or less extent, in La Société Voudon Gnostique and they are also used by the adherents. Besides the strategies proposed by Hammer, this thesis argues that the secrecy and elitist approach, which can be found in the texts, also can be seen as a discursive strategy of epistemology.”

  • Christian Persecution: The Movie! — Scott Stenwick, Augoeides; about the forthcoming movie Persecuted

    “Persecuted, is based on a laughably impossible premise that the audience is supposed to find threatening. In this case, it’s the government attempting to legislate religion, something Poor Oppressed Christians are totally for until they realize that religious freedom also applies to non-Christians. Then they go off the rails about how wrong and unfair it is that they aren’t treated as special and given more privileges than everyone else.”

  • The True History of Libertarianism in America: A Phony Ideology to Promote a Corporate Agenda — Mark Ames, NSFWCORP at Alternet

    “Pull up libertarianism’s floorboards, look beneath the surface into the big business PR campaign’s early years, and there you’ll start to get a sense of its purpose, its funders, and the PR hucksters who brought the peculiar political strain of American libertarianism into being — beginning with the libertarian movement’s founding father, Milton Friedman.”

    “That is how libertarianism in America started: As an arm of big business lobbying.”

  • Aldous Huxley quoted at Reversed Alchemy — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti

    “Certain authors possess the secret of a kind of reversed alchemy; they know how to turn the richest gold into lead. The most interesting subjects become in their hands so tedious that we can hardly bear to read about them.”

  • Ian Clark quoted at The Limits of “Unlimited” — Barbara Fister, Inside Higher Ed

    “By speaking up, we are not only defending public libraries but the entire notion of public services. Silence is not how we defend ourselves against an ideological battle, it is how we surrender.”

  • More Songs for the Witch Woman — John Coulthart, feuilleton

    “It’s been a great pleasure in recent years seeing the welling of interest in Cameron’s work. In 2001 when I was compiling notes for an abandoned study of occult cinema, Cameron as artist, witch or mere human being was a shadowy presence about whom nothing substantial seemed to have been written; her art was impossible to see anywhere, all one had were fleeting references in books”

  • Love Spells — Sarah Anne Lawless

    “Love spells are black magic. Love spells to manipulate the body, heart, and soul. Love spells to dominate, to bind, to cause destruction and madness and pain.

    Love spells are not about love, they are about the lustful eye and the selfish heart. Be honest with yourself about it and then move on to the work at hand.”

  • Bible Stories for Newly Formed and Young Corporations — Tom the Dancing Bug, Boing Boing

    Tom the Dancing Bug Bible-stories for Young Corporations detail

     

  • Stick-Gods — Inonibird

    “‘Stick-Gods’ is the culmination of over a dozen years of fascination with Ancient Egypt—particularly, its mythology and deities. Whether you’re studying Egyptology, a practicing Kemetic or just a fan of myths, there should be something in there for you! I’m doing my best to balance informed content with a fair bit of silliness. …And puns. Lots of puns.”

    Inonibird Stick-Gods

     

  • William Blake’s Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision, by Marsha Keith Schuchard — Gesigewigu’s, Spiral Nature; a review of William Blake’s Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision from Inner Traditions

    “Reading William Blake one cannot help but realize this is a man who is both religious and spiritually active, especially his poems known as the prophecies. The question is what was the nature of his spiritual life? What inspired Blake to create works that are both heavily Christian and at the same time antagonistic to many Christian ideals? The surprising answer is laid out as Schuchard leads us back into the complex religious web of mystical Christianity of the 17th and 18th century.”

  • A Victim of Drunken Channeling — Scott Stenwick, Augoeides

    “Aleister Crowley criticized spiritism as ‘a sort of indiscriminate necromancy’ because of a complete lack of formal magical procedures and protections, in which many mediums simply opened themselves up to whatever spiritual force happened to be present. Modern channelers such as Knight still employ essentially the same methods that Crowley was talking about. As such, there’s a real possibility that any channeling attempt could reach just about any spirit, like some sort of metaphysical Chatroulette.”

  • Mary Magdalene and the Gospel according to Mary — Kate Cooper; an edited excerpt from Band of Angels: The Forgotten World of Early Christian Women from Overlook Press

    “The argument between the four disciples seems to be our anonymous writer’s way of exploring the different positions being taken by the men and women of his own day on the question of an alternative tradition being handed down by women. But he is also expressing his concern that the Church is changing, and not for the better. In his eyes, Peter seems to represent the voice of a faction in the community which wants to ‘make rules or lay down laws other than the Saviour gave’ – in other words, a group that wants to develop an institutional structure to replace the more fluid and informal movement of the early decades. This was clearly a topical warning after the death of the disciples who had known Jesus. Levi thinks that the new rules are a way of drawing the community away from fulfilling its task of preaching the gospel. The anonymous writer seems to be using Levi to suggest that too much emphasis on authority from the ‘Peter faction’ is stifling the Church.”

  • “Afterlife With Archie” Issue 6 is a comic every Lovecraft fan will enjoy — Mike Davis, Lovecraft eZine

    “As the story begins, our heroine Sabrina Spellman is relating one of her eldritch dreams to her psychiatrist, Dr. Lovecraft. Sabrina has apparently been committed to an institution because after her aunts died in a house fire, she had a breakdown and couldn’t deal with the reality of their death.

    But is that really what happened?”

 

If you’d like to participate in the Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS. You can check out all the other gatherum posts, like posts you enjoy, and even add your own posts with links to other things of interest, related to the subject matter of the library, from elsewhere around the Internet.

The Devils of Loudun

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley:

Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudon

 

My trade paperback copy of Huxley’s Devils of Loudun has the subject classification “religion” on the cover. I suppose that’s fair, but it hardly registers the scope of this highly digressive microhistory of alleged diabolical possession in a 17th-century French convent, and the indictment (et sequae) of the local parson as the instigating sorcerer for the outbreak. There are many discussions of the political situation, reflections on the nature of mysticism, and expositions of psychological phenomena that are introduced in an effort to contextualize and explain the events treated in the book. Although Huxley sometimes provides a level of detail that seems almost novelistic, he has clearly done exhaustive archival work to accurately represent the historical events involved. (His Latin quotes are translated in footnotes, but not his French.) He credits the now-derogated notions of Murray’s Witch-Cult in Western Europe, but they are really peripheral to his subject and his conclusions about it.

There is an “Epilogue (in amplification of material in Chapter Three)” where Huxley presents a theory and catalog of “Grace-substitutes” by which individuals seek to escape the prison of their individuality. This lively essay is the author’s contribution to a conversation that runs from Plato’s “Phaedrus” through Aleister Crowley’s “Energized Enthusiasm.” It is just barely possible that Huxley may have read the latter, and he seems unaware of the connection of his musings with the former.

The story is not told in a way that invites the modern reader to look back on the cruel and blinkered deeds of earlier centuries with any sense of superiority. In fact, there are multiple points where the author pauses to observe that the 20th century far exceeded that earlier age in its ruthless destruction of individuals singled out by the machinations of despotic power:

“The soul is not the same as the Spirit, but is merely associated with it. In itself, and until it consciously chooses to make way for the Spirit, it is no more than a rather loosely-tied bundle of not very stable psychological elements. This composite entity can quite easily be disintegrated by anyone ruthless enough to wish to try and skillful enough to do the job in the right way.

“In the seventeenth century this particular kind of ruthlessness was unthinkable, and the relevant skills were therefore never developed” (209-210).

Which is not to say that Huxley romanticizes the truly horrific episodes that he recounts, nor that he detaches them from human weaknesses that afflict us and our societies today.

It is tempting to compare Huxley’s European Devils to The Crucible by Arthur Miller, a play about the Salem witch trials written only a year after Huxley’s book. Miller’s drama was expressly a parable about the Red Scare and McCarthyism, while Huxley’s 20th-century comparanda are overt totalitarianisms such as Nazism and Stalinism. Also, Miller’s play takes the form of a straightforward tragedy centered on John Proctor. Within the historical narrative offered by Huxley, there is a tragedy with parson Urbain Grandier at its focus, a grim comedy starring prioress Jeanne des Agnes, and even a strange romance about the mop-up exorcist Jean-Joseph Surin. (Huxley himself explicitly classifies Surin as a tragic figure contrasted with the comical Jeanne in pp. 280-282.)

Director Ken Russell’s production of Huxley’s book as the film The Devils (1971) has been cinematic unobtainium for decades, with a restored video release appearing in the last year or so. I have not seen it, despite my fervent wish to do so. Now having read the book, my appetite for that is only increased. The Devils of Loudun is recommended on its own strengths, for its historical interest, for the gripping passages of storytelling, and for Huxley’s sage appraisals of the human condition. [via]

 

 

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Aldous Huxley: The Gravity of Light

 


“The need to grow to the limit of our capacities, to become what we potentially are …”

 

“This is not a proper documentary.”

 

“‘the abolition of free will by methodical conditioning, the servitude made acceptable by regular doses of chemically induced happiness, the orthodoxies drummed in by nightly courses in sleep-teaching’, advertising, soma, Prozac, music TV, everyone belongs to everyone else”

 

“Totalitarian regimes of the future won’t be based on terror”

 

See more about this documentary at Disinformation, IMDb, and Amazon